Are You S[e]o Serious?

This a guest post by Anthony Pensabene

Hi.  I’ve been watching online marketing festivities, making observations from an in-circus and out-of-industry perspective.  As a comical observer, I can’t help but relay some ideas to play upon the minds of both clients and SEO practitioners.

I must begin with a question.  Are you s[e]o serious?  The answer to the question is contingent on the person/brand; and, the tragedy of the story is the reality of particular brands may be a comedy, savvy?
How serious are you about your brand, its reputation, and future direction?  Lately, I’ve seen some committing the following online felonies.

Chasing the Money

All dogs become hungry dogs.  Every dog’s gotta eat.  And the race ensues…  I need to chase the money too.  The Joker stated in The Dark Knight, “If you’re good at something, never do it for free.”  I’ve found a way to make money, to get fed, by doing what I love.  If the need for money perished, my love for what I do remains.   Is true happiness in the essence of deed or strictly the ends?

The love of craft compensates for ‘get-rich-now’ impatience.  Even in best-case scenarios, money-generation takes time and relies on a number of factors; patience is essential regarding a product/service you believe in.

How many out there truly believe in their products/services?  How many are proud and love what you do?  In gutting through some brands via razor-like inspection, I’ve come to suspect some of you don’t really believe in what you’re providing.  Would you like to know who is who?

Resources:
Content Marketing Manifesto
Friction and Inertia

Reliant on Others

You shouldn’t build your business heavily on one marketing vehicle (which doubles as another company *cough Google*). Furthermore, do not make your brand side-blind susceptible to the scruples of outsourced services… like marketing agencies.  You’re buying too much into the ‘illusion’ of stability…

All it takes is for one. Little.Panda.or.Penguin to appear…then, all of a sudden, your business revenue is contingent on Google and those who engineer SEO initiatives for YOUR business.  All it takes is a little rupture of that oh-so-illusory every-day status quo…

For one, ensure you know exactly what your SEO agency is doing. Outsourcing should allow additional resources to host your well-understood initiatives.  A lack of in-house resources should not mean a lack of understanding of how your business is being operated and represented.  No tactics should seem foreign or incomprehensible to you.

Secondly, and I hear this too often these days, it’s a bad business strategy to place all eggs in one business-lead basket.  That’s what Google is essentially, yes?  If you’re business’ future is reliant on the maneuvers of another business (you have no direct control over), then (you may want to) revisit your business model.

Resources:
Change the Way You Think
Stop Buying It (Snake Oil SEO)
Link Building from Scratch

Unfaithful to ‘Gotham’

Do you know why it may take so little to make big trouble in particular brands’ ‘cities’?  Some brands are not faithful to respective ‘citizens.’  That creates an opportunity for…chaos.

The customer is king and your marketing needs to be built for your target market.  How faithful are you to your brand’s respective, ‘Gotham’?  Are you ‘building awesome things’?  Otherwise, it won’t take much to upset their faith in you and bring your kingdom down.

Resources:
How to Make Emails Better
Are You Missing This Main Ingredient?
Consider This Job Offer

Not SEO Serious

You know why a number of the Joker’s plots were successful?  He was a keen psychologist.  He understood the ‘why’ of people.  The Joker would make an insane marketer, figuratively and literally.
The way I see it, SEO is a two-part process.  It communicates with engines; but, by and largely, it seeks to ultimately ‘speak’ to people through inherent-marketing knowhow.  Otherwise, I really couldn’t say it is optimized SEO, you know what I mean?  Some brands deem themselves experts, but ‘experts’ according to whom?

So while a number of some link-building, social media, and other online-tasks can adopt an automated pace, achieving the “engine” part of online marketing, you essentially need to charm the smiles on the faces of those who are making the actual purchases.  Do you wanna know how the most successful companies’ customers got those ‘scars’?  The companies always had their customers on their minds, not just engines or automated processes.

Resources:
Rapid-Fire Link Building
The Character of the Author is Relevant

Anthony writes professionally for WebiMax and gets down on his personal blog, Content Muse.  He champions the ‘people’ aspect of marketing and can be found roaming the mountains of Colorado with a smile and sandals on.

Ego Bait Needs a Rebrand

A Guest Post by Gaz Copeland

What is “Ego Bait”?

Ego Bait, for those not in the know is traditionally described as creating a piece of content with the main intention of appealing to a target’s ego and (hopefully) getting a link, share or recognition from them in return.

The target is generally an influential blogger in you niche, a brand or a potential employer. Ego bait is often coupled with another popular link building tactic to ensure maximum effect, ego bait lists, case studies, interviews, surveys and crowd sourced content are all extremely effective marriages.

Here are how others describe ego bait:

“The process of creating content almost solely for the purpose of gleaning links off others” – Ben Norman

“Essentially producing something that strokes the ego of the person/people/company featured.” – James Agate

How have I used Ego Bait?

Personally I have created a number of ego bait pieces over on my SEO blog and in other places around the web, I really enjoy creating this style of post and I guess they have been successful for me over time.

One of my first ego articles was the “Awesome SEO’s on Twitter” it was fun to put together and I felt I was giving a little back to some of my favourite SEO’s who in my eye’s weren’t getting anywhere near enough credit.

Problem?

“What’s the problem” I hear you ask? “If it works, you’ve done it yourself why does it need a re-brand?” you say..

Good question, I’m glad you asked! Just look at some of the language I’ve used above:

  • Bait
  • Target
  • Ego
  • Gleaning

Hardly ”pleasant” is it? And that’s my major issue, ego bait in it’s traditional sense seems to me a very dirty, manipulative and underhand tactic. You are a cold calculated soul, carefully stalking and selecting you victims, your only intention to appeal to their narcissism and to trick them into doing your bidding. In my experience  thankfully that couldn’t be further from the truth.

I didn’t create my “SEO’s who rap” article with the intention of tricking the “targets” into linking to me or sharing my content. (Although that did actually happen) I created it because it was something I had observed and I thought it would be pretty fun to put those guys together in one place.

Solution?

I’ll tell you straight, I don’t know what the solution is, maybe you can tell me? I’d be really interested in hearing alternative names for ego bait which truly convey the process without such negative undertones.

What I do know is that “Ego Bait” is in dire need of a rebrand. If you are looking to create a piece of content to trick somebody into linking to you, or to blow smoke up their { ass | arse } then you are doing it wrong. It won’t work, they will smell it a mile off and it will backfire, especially in the SEO industry.

To create successful ego bait the first thing to do is stop trying to create ego bait, because that’s not what it is. First and foremost it’s something of value, it’s interesting content, it’s sincere.

Further Reading:

Ben Norman – What is ego bait and how effective is it?

James Agate – A guide to producing effective ego bait

Ross Hudgens – A model for link building